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Thursday Morning Links

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thanks, Charter Internet, for forcing me to do the morning links on my iPhone

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Because Charter Internet thinks no one has any Internetting to do at 2 a.m. On a Wednesday, I am doing the morning links on my iPhone. Please excuse any autocorrections.

Tomas Telis has been injured in winter league play because Charter Internet is our organizational strength and conditioning coach.

Do you remember that time Commsnder Data decided to emulate humanity by having a sexual relationship with Tasha Yar?  Well apparently Yu Darvish is dating a wrestler.

That's all I'm finding out there, but I'm on my phone and am thus not exactly a link hound at present.

I want you LSB Premium subscribers to get your money's worth, though, so here's an excerpt from the book I'm working on that I copy/pasted out of Google Drive.

Chapter 2: O’ how full of briers is this working­day world.

About six months into my time in the trenches, I fucked up.

Actually, let me clarify: I fucked up on the daily in rent­to­own. On two separate occasions, for instance, when someone said they were returning merchandise because their husband had passed away I stupidly asked what happened. I then had the pleasure of standing, slack­jawed and armed with only completely inappropriate small­talk, as they explained that their husband had killed himself. Those are examples of mere social incompetence, though, so the women were as uncomfortable as I was and the interactions thus quickly ended.

The event I’m speaking of was pure professional incompetence, a fundamental failure at one of the most basic tasks for which I was being paid. While I was not being paid particularly handsomely, that fact alone could be interpreted to mean that the tasks should not have been exceptionally challenging. After all, if hooking up a washer and dryer were as difficult as counseling a volatile drug addict I would have been getting paid like Lindsay Lohan’s therapist and not like a seasonal tax preparer at H&R Block. Alas, I wasn’t tasked with ensuring an unreliable tweaker made her 1 p.m. casting call, I was just responsible for repossessing her fridge. Annnnndddd.... I will continue this story after I finish sending my resume to Lindsay Lohan’s agent.

Moving on, we had three models of washer/dryer sets, a good, better, best kind of thing. The two lower­end washers had detachable drain hoses, and I hated those things. It was easy to forget the drain hoses when you left the store on a delivery, which rendered the washer useless unless the renter had a portal to another universe situated conveniently in their laundry room floor. And you wouldn’t want to deliver to a house that had a quantum fissure in the tattered linoleum of space­time, anyway, because those things are notoriously unstable and you might find, when it came time to repossess, that your rental merchandise was in a trailer home orbiting Pluto. The delivery trucks were supposed to have spares, but they were also supposed to be driven by people that knew how to install washers and instead they were being driven by me, so that’s where "supposed to" will get you. And even assuming you remembered the drain hose and didn’t knock the drain spigot clean off the washer when you dragged it clumsily through the door, you really couldn’t put it on correctly without the pair of pliers that was apparently kept in the same place as the spare drain hoses. And, finally, when you knelt down to put the drain hose you forgot on the washer you damaged with the pair of pliers that didn’t exist, you did so in what was usually a 15 on the 10 point scale of filth.

So I was always thinking about the drain hose when I was delivering one of the two lower­end washers.

I wasn’t delivering one of the lower­end ones, though, I was returning the "best" model to a renter’s house after it had come back from service. This unit had been going to and coming back from service on a two­week cycle for months. I had a pair of panties, sealed in a Ziplock baggie, which the service department had pulled from inside the washer’s guts. I intended to show them to the renter as a form of assurance that the problem was finally probably fixed, which, if you’re keeping score, is likely an example of both professional incompetence and the aforementioned social incompetence. What I did not have, it should be noted, was the nagging irritation in the back of my mind about the drain hose issue. The high­end model’s drain hose retracted into a recess in the washer’s chassis, so I was safe to completely ignore it while I hooked up the washer, plugged it in, and started a test cycle. I was also apparently safe to completely ignore it while I told the renter that it looked like it was working and then left the premises.

ignored it so thoroughly, in fact, that I did not think of it again until about 10 seconds before the store called to inform me that there was now an inch of water on the renter’s beautiful slate floors. Thankfully, since I did think of the hose before the phone rang I did not have to try to puzzle out what happened by teasing some sort of meaning out of a positively Biblical flood of expletives. Instead, I just had to drive back to the store, get a Shop Vac, and then go attempt to clean up. The Shop Vac was lavender so I would be appropriately emasculated and had a ridiculously inadequate 1 gallon capacity so that the renter would have plenty of time to catalog my idiocy.

The renter wasn’t in our typical demographic. It was a site­built brick home situated in a 2 acre lot, they had nice cars and nice jobs and nice flooring, cabinetry and furniture that would actually be rendered less valuable by exposure to water instead of merely less filthy. I’ve never felt so defeated in my life.

"Ben," said my manager the next day, "I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to write you up."

"You sure do," I told her, "I’d do the same damn thing."


Four months later, the woman with the flooded kitchen sold our washer and dryer in an
estate sale, skipped out of state, and never paid another dime on the agreement, so my malicious ineptitude was eventually vindicated. But the core fact didn’t change: I really sucked at this job.